Humorous Jamaican Men> One Love

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a few days outside of Kingston the city, and was in Ocho Rios which is what they call “the country” here on the island. Most places outside of Kingston is generally labelled as ” the country, he or she is from the country”

I have never been particularly fond of Ocho Rios, mainly because I  have often felt that I am hassled far to often by men as I walk through the streets. To make matters worst, about three weeks ago there was an article in the Sunday newspaper discussing the exact topic, about men hassling the tourist on the streets. Something needs to be done about it, is what the article concluded.

Jamaica wants to succeed in branding itself as a sort after tourist destination, and the tourist board realizes, that the locals living in the tourist towns who attempt to sell goods or services, will need some sensitivity training on how to approach potential customers/ clients.What can be done is the a real ongoing question.

So last week while doing some banking etc. in Ocho Rios, I was approached by about five different men in less than 10mins. offering me everything thing but the kitchen sink. The sentences are as such;

“Queen, yuh wah ahh taxi” ( Do you want a taxi)

“Yuh wah Ganja” (Do you want Ganga-weed)

“Yuh want ahh man, if not now mummy then maybe lata” ( would you like me to get you a man, if not for now honey, maybe for later)

I was amazed and walked to my car shacking my head. While these men may think it’s appropriate behavior the tourist may not think so is my point….

Women moving to this soil, will need to  quickly adapt and navigate these types of behaviors. You may initially find these sentences  inappropriate or disrespectful and you could choose to be miserable, but learning to ignore the tirade is perhaps best. I generally smile and say ” no thanks” as firmly as I can…. or “no thanks Sir” or ” no thanks Big Chief” anything to throw them off and bring laughter. All this is done while briskly walking away, but I’ve have found that laughter can generally diffuse these characters.

I read an article today that supported my ideas about how some of the local men speak to women on the streets. I was not wearing anything tight or clingy was my immediate thought, so why this trouble;

A Jamaica woman shares her own ideas on the given topic : “http://www.jamaicans.com”
Lyrics-De Jamaican Way
By Darnatz Darnatz
Published Apr 4, 2011

I have always been amazed at how bold, bright, brazen and bumptious our Jamaican men are when it comes to dropping lyrics. I am convinced that the things that women have to endure from some of these men happen only in Jamaica.

Now if you thought I was talking about the regular “browning”, “empress or “my size” that some men use to get a woman’s attention, then you would be wrong. I am talking about those men who are actually convinced that they have what it takes to make a woman give them their number.  What makes it even more ridiculous is that when you look at the type of man calling to some of these well-put-together women yuh jus waan pap up, cause nowhere inna him wildest dream would she even give him the time of day, but does he care.

One of my earliest experiences was at the tender age of sixteen when I was keen on showing my “belly-skin” and was proud of the fact that it was cute.  Now here I was walking in Half Way Tree minding my own business when a man comes up to me and says, “Bwai baby, mi woulda drink some rum outta yuh navel enuh”. Can you imagine the horror? Not only was I embarrassed but I was also furious because even if I were going to engage in any romantic liaisons, I sure would not want anyone to drink rum from my navel.  I wondered couldn’t he had said wine or some other drink, but rum-so not sexy. But then again, rum is the choice drink of many Jamaican men, so he was simply staying in familiar territory.

I thought that things couldn’t get any worse, but over the years men have said some things to me that have made me blush and I sure could not repeat them here for fear of making yuh eyelash curl up-so mi ago keep it PG-16.

Gotta luv the Island….

Some years ago I was at Hellshire, relaxing and trying to complete a chapter for my upcoming exams when a man who sells fish and festival came over to me and said “Babes, mi a watch yuh from ova dey so. How you do? I quickly mumbled “I’m okay” hoping that he would get the message and leave me alone. But he was persistent. Next thing I know missa man is telling me “yuh know seh mi can tek care a yuh. Is a man like me yuh want inna yuh life”.  For the first time, I took a good look at him and it was all I could do from laughing out loud.  I wondered if he intended to maintain me on the money he made from his livelihood, cause my studies no come cheap.  He also didn’t seem put off by the fact that I was married and that my husband was swimming a few feet away.  He even suggested that he could be the ‘man pan di side’ and kept insisting that he was the right man for me. Now can you imagine me exchanging my good good husband fi him-no sah. Eventually, I had to let him down easy and I just silently laughed at the episode.

If that weren’t bad enough, I made the mistake of going out in the front yard in a very short shorts some time ago and almost immediately a man named Blacka who has no abiding city and who literally hangs around construction sites in the hope of getting a job walked by and said “Psst, sexy-yuh look good enuh. A shoulda you a my ooman”. I began to cringe because Blacka no stay prappa yuh nuh and I wondered if that was the kind of man I was attracting.  Yuh know seh mi go in go tek off di shorts caah mi couldn’t tek another lecherous soul like Blacka lusting afta mi.  But later when I had some time to think it over I realized that Blacka was just one of many as there are many Jamaican men who nuh have dry trash inna dem name but believe that they can get any Miss World.  I applaud their ambition.

Enough about me though, here are a few of the things that have been said to some of my girlfriends.

“Yuh machine look good”
“Baby yuh know seh mi spirit tek yuh”
“Mi would gi yuh a bwai pickney now”-so romantic
“Champion”
“Yuh chassy set good enuh”

Anyway, the stories are never-ending and could fill a book, so mi ago lef some fi lata.  Tek care till next time.

Advice On Packing For A Move To Jamaica

I remember packing my belongings in Washington DC., with the intention of shipping them to Florida to join up with my husband’s belongings, in preparation for our move across the ocean to Kingston. I had absolutely no idea of what to pack. One thing was certain, I had convinced myself that all of my antique furniture would not accompany me to the tropics.

It was a difficult decision to leave behind our furniture and household items. However, I told myself, “Why would I want heavy mahogany bedroom furniture, two heavy treasure trunks, antique clocks, and fall/winter colours of wine and forest green living room furniture?

Why would I want to haul my unusual lamps and rugs?” I even convinced my husband to give away what we had in Florida to charity. After all, we were moving to the sun and we would simply purchase new light colored creams, pastels and wicker-type furniture similar to those I had seen in my favourite magazines such as Pottery Barn, Real Simple and Maco.

In the end, I decided I would only pack our kitchen items largely because of my love for cooking. I also included our towels, sheets, books and light weight clothing. My North American brain convinced me that there should be no difficulty in purchasing start-up items for our two-bedroom apartment in Kingston. I was certain an Ikea-type store would be readily available. Not so, I would learn soon enough.

Let’s fast forward to two months later in Kingston. After unpacking several boxes, we decided that we needed additional items to make our living space more comfortable. We proceeded to search stores for a couch, some simple lamps, rugs and potters for all of my new island plants. Five stores later, I returned home exhausted and disheartened. It was clear that I should have packed all of our belongings, especially after seeing the steep local prices.

Eventually, we resorted to hiring a local carpenter to make us a few items. We also purchased one lamp at a price I never would have paid in the U.S. Two years later, a small kitchen rug was added to our collection.

Today, I still frown each time I think about how expensive these things are on the island. While I understand that most items of this nature are imported to the island, I miss the bargains, sales, flea markets and good old thrift stores of the U.S. I also learned that the thrift store culture does not exist in the Jamaican environment. I may have a few theories concerning their marked absence from the Jamaican marketplace.

I remind myself daily that issues such as procuring furniture and household items are not such a big deal. Although I know that these items are simply material things which can be easily replaced, my thoughts continue to return to the items we left behind. Oh well, thoughts are thoughts.

I now advise persons considering a move to Jamaica, that furniture and household items may be easily replaced in an environment where there is an abundance of inexpensive choices. However, this is not the case in Jamaica.

Whenever I visit houses and see beautiful items, I ask the question, “So where did you get this?” The responses are usually along the lines of, “Oh, we had it shipped in from Miami,” or, “Mr. Barnes made it, but he migrated.” The answer is seldom, “Oh go to this great local store where items are beautiful and reasonable.”
As a result, my advice is that if you are moving to Jamaica and not renting a furnished place; ensure that you pack all of your favorites. If you live simply and basics will suffice, then arrive with less. If however, you need/seek comfort then pack all of your favorite couches, chairs, tools, patio furniture, books, book shelves, rugs, lamps, pots and pans and lots of plastic Tupperware-type containers.

If it turns out that you have packed things that you no longer need or like, then there is always the option of donating these items to charitable organizations. You will have zero difficulty in giving things away as there are many persons in need who will be grateful for your kindness.

Even though my husband and I have adjusted well, an article such as this would have been extremely helpful for me three years ago when I started packing for my life in the sun.

The Contrast of Jamaica> Vacation vs Living

Many of us arrive to Jamaica on holiday for the first time, and literally fall in love with the country. We leave vowing to return the following year, and many proceed to do just that.

You arrive from Belgium, Germany, Canada, Japan and the United States, with images you have stored in your head of Jamaica from television, or tourist advertising video’s after Jamaican runners blaze trails at International track events. “I am going to see where such great talent as Usain Bolt & Asa Powell lives, you tell people willing to listen.”

So you arrive at Montegobay Airport after several hours in flight, anxiously ready for a good time.

This is the land where Bob Marley lived, “yeah mon” The hotel shuttle bus arrives sixty minutes late to take you to your hotel, its’ hot as ever, but no problem you tell yourself, I am on vacation.

Your vacation involves, sun, sand, extensive drinking and living in beach wear for the next ten or twelve days. You wear sarong skirts, flip flop rubber slippers, beach hats etc. “life is good here in the tropics, you tell anybody willing to listen” The  drum pan- chicken is great, the jerk lobster at Hellshire  Beach is to die for,  the rum punch at Appleton Estates is a permanent memory you will never forget, and !!!!!!!

Several trips or years later you arrive in Kingston to live, perhaps bringing many of the same sarong type skirts and flowered print shirts you wore in Negril or Montego bay while on vacation.

You may now be wondering, “can this be the same place, that I fell in love with and decided to move to?” “This is surely not the Jamaica I saw while I was on vacation as a tourist you tell yourself, I can barely understand what people are saying to me, this never happened while I was staying at Sandals  beach resort” You have now been here for a few months and abit confused.

Welcome

Kingstons’ reality allows you to see more of  Jamaicas’ day to day life, away from Ocho Rios, Negril Montegobay and all inclusive hotels. The truth is, you may choose to not live in Kingston the city, but you will need to find out how to acquire a work permit, how to get a tax Id  TRN number,  and where to find furniture and appliances for the place you have leased.

The word ” soon come, or pon dee road ”  will now become part of your new vocabulary.

Welcome indeed, this is the real Jamaica.

Many people decide to live in Jamaica because they love the dynamic energy, and vibe of the culture.Yet, there are those who decide that this is country is far too difficult for them to manage and bolt in less than a year.

The key to moving to Jamaica, is research, research, research and talk to several people who have moved here from the outside, and then decide if this is a country you can call home.

Charitable Groups in Kingston JA.

There are several charitable organizations in Jamaica, where any individual who wants to volunteer time  or resources can do so and feel  a tremendous sense of good. I usually recommend that you spend the first 3-6 months  after arriving on the island, getting yourself and family settled. Once you feel settled and know your way around somewhat, your networking can begin especially if you have not done any networking prior to moving to Jamaica.

I now belong to a few different groups, so once you are ready you can simply reach out. Listed are a few organizations  that I am most familiar with. Do contact me or  contact any of the following groups  if you are interested in getting your service work started.

The Canadian Womens’ Group ( see Canadian High Commission for details), The American Womens’ Group ( see  the American Embassy), Women International Club ( WIC), IPP ( International Proxy Parents), Womens Inc., and the Jamaican Aids Support Society.

The following charitable notice was sent to me via a friend for posting:

The TRC is a Non-Profit, No Fee
Community Library, Reading Room & Education Centre
… a place where life is enriched by learning…

Sponsored by Non-Profits:
FACE Jamaica: Friends Advancing Community Education (2006 Jamaica)
Friends of the Trench Town Reading Centre (1995 Van Canada)

PHYSICAL PLANT: Two adjacent buildings:
– The Library: Main room: Book collection & Kids Korner, Tutorial rm, 2 bathrms
– Community Classroom/ Art / Performance Space
Open:Tues-Friday Noon-8pm. Sat: 11am-6pm. Sun: 2:30-5:30pm. Closed Monday.
LIBRARY:
Literacy, read aloud, huge variety of language art activities, book of the week, tutoring …
Spelling Bees: Feb 10 Jamaican Culture & History (65 spellers 5 groups)
Aug 08 Family & Community (70 spellers 5 groups) Scotia Bank sponsors with FACE Jamaica & FTRC

Summer School; 3wks July 08. Focus: Literacy, comprehension, research writing skill combined with art. ‘Puppets for Peace’ each Friday. Two shows & a puppet-making workshop.

COMMUNITY SPACE:
Cultural Program..spoken word & songs. Writing & performing
Art & Craft several times a week
Job Search & Skills series, parenting, seniors meeting, and other community group’s use

Continue reading “Charitable Groups in Kingston JA.”

Both Sides of the Story> Shared Comments

My informational blog was officially launched on on May 13th 2008. I started writing a few things earlier in the year, but was truly intimidated to share. Anyhow, I finally got the courage to go public and started advertising that the site was available at several other websites where I think expats visit. What has been most interesting, is when I started receiving daily feedback.

So each morning, I race to my computer to see what people have sent my way, it’s been amazing. I have gotten several “thank you’s” for the information, with a few saying they wish something like this existed before they moved to Jamaica, and a few others suggesting topics they would like to read about.

I wanted to share these two particular comments, which were left about the Jamaican dialect/language.

Comment:( I think the point being made by the following comment, is that the Patois dialect should be no big deal to outsiders)

Come, man. Almost everybody inna Jumayka speak patois, even depolitishan when dem a meet de people, etc. You can barely fin a record which don use patois. Nuff nuff book a write in patois. Many people, though, can and do speak AND write formal English very well, and do so at work and at school

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Translation: Come now! almost everybody in Jamaica speaks patois, even the politicians when they meet people etc. You can barely find a CD/ or music where the patois language is not spoken. Many books are also written in patois.

Response: Thanks for your insight. Please however realize that this blog’s information is to notify Expats moving to Jamaica about the existence and use of patois. Many people move here and it takes them a while to get used to the sound of the words, as they may or may not be English speakers. I have friends from Hungry, Belgium or even Trinidad who have had difficulty in understanding patois.

There are so many things that fly at you those first six months of settling in, and if one is aware of the non- standard English before the move here, then there ears are more “open” I used to go into barber shops to get my hair cut and it felt like I was living in Haiti, as I could not understand a word. I am now way better and even now play with the words myself, but had I known about the language issue earlier I could have been more mentally prepared. I have been told by Jamaicans that “ them nuh know why farrin have a hard time here, as them speak English”…… this was exactly my point.

WATA ( Water)

Another Comment:

As someone who does not speak Jamaican, I had to read some parts a few times.
I imagine you expected that. It is the first eye opener to readers thinking about relocating to Jamaica.
I will say that when I read “learn the language” my first thought was “but they speak English there….right?”
May I suggest you mention that the language is English but “Jamaican English.”
That or mention right away they speak a kind of English and then describe what you mean….the you-tube is a great addition.
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Thanks for the world of feedback.

Continue reading “Both Sides of the Story> Shared Comments”

What Do Expatriate Spouses Need?

This article comes from http://www.expatwomen.com/ expatwomen September 2008 Newsletter and I wanted to share with you the readers.

Managing Global Talent: What Do Expatriate Spouses Need?
Report to Participants

By Dr. Nina Cole
Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
July 2008

Surveys consistently demonstrate that problems with spousal adjustment are the leading cause of early return home from expatriate assignments, which is costly in terms of repatriation and replacement of the expatriate, and in terms of company performance. One of the key factors affecting spousal adjustment is interruption/cessation of employment. Recent surveys also reveal that although 60% of spouses are employed before expatriate assignments, only about 20% find employment while abroad. Despite these indicators, employers provide very limited employment assistance to spouses.

During 2007-2008, I traveled through the Asia-Pacific region to conduct a research study on spousal adjustment. The study was funded by the SHRM Foundation (affiliated with the U.S. Society for Human Resource Management). All 238 participants completed a questionnaire regarding employment assistance. Of those, 100 participants volunteered to meet with me for a more detailed discussion, and provided specific information on the assistance they had received, and what additional assistance would have been helpful.

Executive Summary

The results of the study showed that spouses who experience a severe disruption or cessation of employment have significantly lower interactional adjustment (with regard to interacting with host nationals) than other spouses. For spouses with a career orientation to work, females had higher cultural adjustment (related to food, housing, medical care etc) and interactional adjustment than males.

Only 18 percent of the spouses received employer-provided career assistance, and there was no significant difference in adjustment between spouses who received assistance and those who did not. Those who received assistance gave mediocre ratings of its effectiveness (average 3.2 out of 5), suggesting that employers need to more carefully design such assistance based on a rigorous assessment of spousal needs.

Interviews with 100 spouses indicated that their greatest needs are for networking information to assist in their job search and for a ‘go-to’ person for practical settling-in assistance. The good news is that the cost of this assistance is minimal. Creating lists of classic books regarding portable careers, employment agencies, other Western companies operating in the location, expatriate associations/networks, expatriate websites, networking groups for spouses, international schools and other organizations providing services to the expatriate community can be obtained via a Web search or through existing spousal groups and networks. Hiring existing expatriate spouses on a contract basis to provide assistance to newly-arriving spouses before and during the actual moving and settling-in period is also inexpensive and cost-effective.

cont reading at:

http://www.expatwomen.com/partners/managing_global_talent_expat_spouses.php

Questions; About Future Moves To Jamaica

For the last year and a half, I have been a volunteer mentor with various on line expat exchange services, where I answer questions for expats seeking information about Jamaica. Not sure when the idea first popped into my head to do this, but I realized early on that I get tremendous enjoyment when assisting in this capacity. I often meet individuals who tell me, that they moved to Jamaica  for employment without ever visiting the country, and are now amazed at how challenging life can be in the sun.

I find the concept of moving to a country or place that I had never visited very different, but it happens. Individuals simply fall in love with whatever perceptions they have of Jamaica and the Caribbean, and often times do not have a clue about what day- to- day living is like. They may have heard Bob Marley’s music or saw high performing Jamaican athletes competing, and thought, “oh boy!” I can move to Jamaica for a better life in paradise.

While living in Jamaica is clearly doable and the land is beautiful, I advise doing extensive research before selling everything and moving here, because it is a developing country.

Expats do arrive on the island and live a pretty interesting life, but settling in can often times be a challenge for some families. The following two questions were recently posted at an expat site:

Hi! I am a doctor who is being hired by the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica. I need help regarding the way of life in Jamaica before I decide to stay there. What is the standard of living there? Safe housing and how much for a car? Please help….I don’t have any idea regarding living in Jamaica. Thanks.

Now, what should my response be to this person? The first thing I would tell him is  to make his first pre-arrival trip to Jamaica, to see where he will be working. Sort of like an informational interview with the management to have a look around at the conditions he will be working with,  to see whether things such as medial equipment is compatible to where he is coming from, etc. He should  also check with his home embassy to see if expats from his home country live on the island and arrange to meet as many of them as possible so he can start asking questions. He should then try to meet a few Realtors to take him around and view housing, schools, etc. In other words, a move of this magnitude should not be taken lightly.

What I would also recommend is that he download the free e-book The 10 1/2 Mistakes People Make When Moving to Jamaica, written by myself and husband Francis Wade. he should then purchase our e-book on My Move To Jamaica; both excellent resources.

Another question posted:

I am a chef living in the U.S. and was thinking of relocating to Negril for maybe a year or so just to get some new experience and have a change of scenery for a little while. I was wondering if some of the resorts would provide housing for employees or at least help with housing. How much would it be for a single male adult to stay and live decently well? What might be a starting salary at a major resort for a sous chef?

I am not sure if this individual is aware, of the current unemployment rate in Jamaica being close to 40 percent . While jobs in the hotel industry may be available, they are hard to come by. Not only will this person be competing with Jamaicans for a job, he would need to have the job before he arrives to live or secure a job within the first three months of being here, and hopefully his employers would assist in getting his work permit. A work permit for non-Jamaicans now cost $108, 000. Jamaican dollars and usually expires in two to three years. The US equivalent is $1500.  which is a recent increase from, about $500.00 US dollars.

This amount does not include the application fees and process, so individuals will need to contact the Jamaican Immigration Department and Ministry of Labor when considering staying on the island for more than a vacation. Individuals married to Jamaican citizens usually get an exemption for work permits, but the process is not automatic and could take as many as six to nine months. Again folks please do you research well.

“No problem mon” is great to here while one is on a holiday, but not when you are trying to figure out how  you will survive on half the salary you made in your home country.

From A Security Specialist Corner: On Living In Jamaica

I decided to ask a Security Consultant to share his views and some tips about living in the sun for people considering moving to Jamaica, as many are often confused by the conflicting reports.

The first thing many people here about Jamaica, is how beautiful it is, but the crime rate and violence is high. Expats here aobut Jamaica the crime rate is high in Jamaica, over 2.7 million people live here and many enjoy a good lifestyle with expats moving in and out of the country yearly. Expats are also rarely ever targeted or harmed.

The following piece is written by our specialist and his name is at the bottom of the article. Please send me a note, should you have direct questions for him.

Traveling to Jamaica:


It is always a good idea to get as much information about a country you are about to visit. For me I usually go as far as getting maps and studying the physical layout of the land, its topography and its communication systems, including roads and river ways. But probably some of the most important areas you want be updated on are the culture of the people and the crime situation as both could impact on you in very significant ways.

This article is especially directed to persons traveling to Jamaica whether it is for vacation, business or relocation. The points which will be highlighted will be general ones mostly pertaining to security; if more detailed information is required I may be contacted through this Blog.

Awareness Points:

Jamaicans in general are a very friendly people however you should endeavour not to misread that friendliness for subservience.

There is much unemployment and poverty in Jamaica at this time and therefore it is advisable that you take all precautions to secure your personal belongings, and be alert at all times so as to deter any attack on your person.

In many depressed areas especially those with high crime rate persons are very wary of strangers and so it is advisable that you keep to the beaten path unless escorted by someone familiar with the area.

Jamaicans tend to be extremely homophobic and it is therefore strongly recommended that if you are a practitioner of such a lifestyle that you do not make a public display of it.

The average Jamaican is very vocal and will often blow a lot of “hot air”. They will, however, quite often relent and even become an instant friend if you hold your ground and reason with them in a no confrontational manner. There is always the exception however and in those cases discretion must be the guiding principle.

More general points:
1. Exercise great caution when entering or exiting your vehicle. Take a few seconds to look around and decide that all is ok.

2. You are at great risk of attack in the area of your home when engaged in routine activities when your movements can be predicted.

3. On arrival at home take a quick look around to ensure that everything is normal if you have a dog that usually greets you and it does not show up be extra careful and on the alert.
4. Do not take threats lightly, report them to the police.

5. If you get a threatening phone call do not hang up, instead, try to keep the person talking as long as possible and get as much information to report to the police.

6. Never agree to receive or meet anybody for any purpose that does not give his name and state his business and never allow yourself to be driven to anyone who is not vouched for or known to you.

7. While driving always keep the doors to your vehicle locked.

8. Avoid narrow and lonely streets.

9. If you suspect that you are being followed, try not to allow yourself to be overtaken or forced off the road. Take a known detour and if still suspicious, attract attention by turning on your lights, honking your horn and drive to a police station or other safe area.

10. In the plaza always have your key in hand when you approach your vehicle and develop the habit of looking around before getting in.

11. While walking on the street, walk near to the curb facing incoming traffic. Avoid passing too close to shrubbery, dark doorways and other places of concealment.

12. If you feel you are being followed cross the street and if you continue to be followed try to draw attention to yourself.

13. If a driver pulls up alongside to ask a question, do not approach the vehicle. In particular beware of suggestion to look at a map.

14. If you find yourself in a situation with a weapon threat, do exactly what you are told.

The above list is not an exhaustive one but as was suggested I may be contacted for further information as it pertains to your special circumstance.

Major Stanley Ford (Ret’d)

Security Consultant/ Trainer

Getting a Jamaican Driver’s Licence: July 2008

After receiving several email inquiries about obtaining a Jamaican driver’s licence, I decided to share information about this process. While the actual process for getting a driver’s licence was something which both my husband and I went through during our first year on the island, I realized that my memory of the steps involved was somewhat fuzzy. So off I marched this morning to gather some details for you the readers. This blog entry will reveal some facts I received today mixed in with my own experience last year.

I visited the tax office on Constant Spring Road, near the golf course in Kingston, as that is where the initial process begins for many Kingston residents. So I went up to the information desk with my little note-pad, and I have to admit, that I have started feeling like a reporter, as I now  use every opportunity to gather information for this blog. I am very careful to wait until the line is empty  before I proceed to ask my questions, and I generally ask as quietly as I  possibly can, because I have experienced occasions where people in the line grumble loudly after hearing me saying ‘them farrin come to Jamaica and always asking plenty questions Cha”

Step one: Applying For a New Licence:

If you already have a driver’s licence from say Canada, the U.S. or England,  proceed as follows:

Pick up a form called “Application For Issue/Renewal/Substitution of General/Private/Motor cycle Drivers’ Licence”  Cost JA $1800. dollars. US $25.00

Step Two

You then acquire  three Passport photos which you will take to the Motor Vehicles Examination building, along with the form from Step One. You will then be given a date to return and take a driving test. I remember being extremely nervous on the day of my return, as I was afraid of getting a driving instructor, who I might not understand. I have a way of asking detailed questions when I am nervous, as I function better with facts, and not everybody likes my direct approach.

The reading test came in the most unexpected way possible. I was actually reading a magazine while sitting at a desk awaiting employee assistance, when a gentleman walked up to me and proceeded to ask what was I reading. I remember looking at him and thinking he was odd, as he was not wearing a uniform and I had no idea who he was, but I answered  “it’s a piece on art” to which he then asked ” what kind of art?” Again I was stunned, and was now thinking  ” pal the cover says Jamaican Journal”  but smiled and said ” Jamaican art.” He then proceeded to tell me read it our loudly, so I proceeded to do just that. I am now thinking, this man is definitely a bit odd, but let me go along here. He then told me to stop after two paragraphs of reading and further explained that I had just passed my reading test. “Okay” was all I could say.

He then told me to go outside, where I would do the driving test. After that reading deal, I was extremely serious, as I had heard rumors that many people often failed the driving test, and had to pay some amount of  bribe money to buy instead of earn their licence. I was determined not to pay any bribes, although I figured he may not attempt that angle with me, especially since he asked me where I moved to Jamaica from, and a few things about Washington D.C.

Thankfully, all went well; I made sure throughout the driving test that I slowly repeated to him, what I figured he’d said to me.

Step Three:

I was then told to return to the Tax office in a few weeks to pick up the final licence and pay the JA$3,000. about US $42.00.

If you need to renew an expired licence, you would be required to pick up the form from Step One above and submit at the tax office the three passport photos, along with the application for renewal, and the licence fee from Step Three above.

I do not remember the experience as being difficult, as long as you pay attention to details and ask several questions whenever something is unclear, you should obtain your licence without a problem.

Stay tuned for information on how to acquire a TRN number.

Expat: Recently Moved To Kingston From The UK Shares

This note was recently left at an online forum where individuals post questions and answers about moving/ living in Jamaica:

I moved here to Jamaica from the UK about 3 months ago, and am very pleased I made the move. But you do need to do some research before you move out here – particularly in view of where you want to live. There are lots of nice safe areas, but also (like most cities) places you really don’t want to be. I would recommend that for peace of mind you live in a gated community which means you have 24 hour security. There are lots of these complexes around the city, and a lot of them have shared swimming pools, bar areas etc too. Regarding a car – I think that buying a car here is very expensive (compared to the UK) although the running costs are much cheaper. We did look at importing my husbands car here but that wasn’t really a viable option as the import duties are high. I hope this helps, and you enjoy your move here.